Archive for category Failures of Faith

Invariably dropping the “f” in”pro-life”

“I think about the public outcry that there was for an elk, and I think about the thousands of babies — healthy, full-term babies — that are killed down the street from where they paraded a stupid elk down the road.”

So spoke Abby Johnson to about 300 people on the campus of the University of Colorado as part an anti-abortion talk, or rant, or fever-dream soliloquy, or whatever description best fits

Abortion is an unpleasant topic and for obvious reasons is extremely emotionally charged. This, however, no excuse for slinging bullshit. If self-described anti-abortion crusaders were barred from lying or making abysmal analogies at nearly every opportunity, almost all of them would immediately fall mute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Being John Milkovich…

…means being a stinky-assed liar.

It’s one thing to remain a creationist in the face of incalculable amounts of scientific evidence undermining every possible rational justification for your position — to just stick out your tongue and say “Fuck y’all, I’m a Faptist and CHOOSE to believe the Bible.”

But it’s another thing to sit in a legislative session and proclaim with a straight face to your colleagues that there exists scientific evidence to support creationism. Even the most far-gone idiot knows this…I think.

Imagine the outrage that would ensue if some elitist liberal politician with a bunch of letters after her name stood up in told U.S. Congress that the latest research in psychology demonstrates that raising your child to believe anything in the Bible would likely lead to bedwetting, ADHD, compulsive masturbation, fecal incontinence, acne, intractable body odor, and a fondness for Justin Bieber in adolescence. People would rightfully start demanding evidence for this claim, which is on no less solid ground than Milkovitch’s.

(This guy is a Democrat, by the way.)

 

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Easter, the M. Night Shamalayan screenplay of holidays

Whatever your religious views or lack thereof, Easter is, indisputably, one bizarre holiday, at least in the U.S., which has an established penchant for contorting already strange celebrations into gauche and tasteless displays of excess and egoism.

Every year on Easter Sunday, the more devout among us declare, “He is risen!” in precise response to the fact that another year has gone by with no such thing taking place at all. Conspicuously.

The return of Jesus, by any reasonable interpretation of scripture, is long, long overdue. If he were a library book, someone would owe about $4 billion in fines by now for keeping him for roughly 20 centuries.

Consider that the whole day is centered on a failed promise subsequent to a grisly murder, complemented nowadays by nonsensically irrelevant indulgences and symbols — bad candy, rabbits, and egg hunts (that rabbits don’t even lay eggs is probably lost on a lot of American children). Easter as we know it is comparable to a hypothetical Abominable Snowman Day on which everyone jokes about all the frozen corpses littering the route to the top of Mount Everest while drinking Worcestershire sauce and taking their kids to watch stray dogs fornicate in the park.

Even if I believed in such things as people returning to life after spending three days as a corpse, I would have to look askance at the entire scheme.

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False facts determine alternate reality, or something

You have to love it when someone writes “Facts – not ideology – determine reality” on a blog populated by delusional bigots in the same post in which he rallies behind a load of bullshit about the evils of transgenderism excreted by a “medical” organization that is actually a group of conservative Christians using a convincing-sounding name (see: Center for Medical Progress) to promote ideology rather than facts.

For reference, the American College of Pediatricians was founded in 2002 and has perhaps 200 members; the American Academy of Pediatrics, on the other hand, was founded in 1930 and has a membership of approximately 64,000. Physicians in the latter group have ample reason to consider those in the former group a bunch of less-than-shrewd muckrakers and liars.

This is the worst aspect of these so-called Christian online gangs: They target the most credulous and toxic people out there. The guy who wrote this post is a mindless shitbird who would be happy to spread nastiness like this even if he knew it was ill-conceived, but in this case I’m sure that he’s merely been duped.

This, of course, is just one more example of an ineluctable aspect of faith in 21st-century America: Every day, countless people lie in order to promote Christianity, a religion that explicitly commands its followers not to lie. Does anyone else find this a little fucked up?

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About that commandment…

I recently learned that, by at least one measure, New Hampshire, where I grew up, is the least religious state in the country (actually, it’s tied with Massachusetts, its neighbor to the south), and also has the lowest murder rate. A coincidence? A glance at the following table I created after reading a post on my favorite blog for heathens suggests not.

All six states in which at least 7 out of 10 people say that religion is very important in their lives are among the top 13 states in per capita murders.

Among the dozen least religious states, the only one that cracks the top 30 in murder rate is Alaska, which is 12th. Alaska and Utah are outliers here, but in opposite ways, with Utah ranking 12th in religiosity and 41st in murder rate. Perhaps Mormons and Baptists have different ways of settling interpersonal scores.

I realize that it would be facile to claim that religiosity, in particular conservative Protestantism, breeds violence. But it’s clearly far more complicated than that. For one thing, we can’t say that the people doing the killing are the ones also doing  most of the praying. One could just as easily hypothesize that in places where people are more likely to be killed by other people, they turn to faith out of fear. I don’t believe this either, but it’s not a ferociously out-to-lunch idea compared to some of the garbage floating around cyberspace.

About the only genuinely sound conclusion anyone can draw from these data is that religiosity, while probably not a cause of serious social ills, is certainly no salve for them. We’ve seen this in various other areas already — for example, states with a high proportion of believers consistently rank way up there in the rate of teen pregnancies, suggesting that the anti-contraception, sex-is-evil proselytizing popular in such states is, well, impotent.

(Sources: the Pew Research Center and the 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report.)

Rank MURDER RELIGION Rank
State Murders/

100,000

(2014)

State % Religious
1 Louisiana 10.3 Alabama 77 1
2 Mississippi 8.6 Mississippi 77 2
3 Missouri 6.6 Tennessee 73 3
4 South Carolina 6.4 Louisiana 71 4
5 Maryland 6.1 Arkansas 70 5
6 Nevada 6.0 South Carolina 70 6
7 Delaware 5.8 West Virginia 69 7
8 Florida 5.8 Oklahoma 66 8
9 Alabama 5.7 Georgia 66 9
10 Georgia 5.7 North Carolina 65 10
11 Tennessee 5.7 Texas 64 11
12 Alaska 5.6 Utah 64 12
13 Arkansas 5.6 Kentucky 63 13
14 Michigan 5.4 Virginia 61 14
15 Illinois 5.3 Missouri 60 15
16 North Carolina 5.1 South Dakota 59 16
17 Indiana 5.0 Ohio 58 17
18 New Mexico 4.8 New Mexico 57 18
19 Pennsylvania 4.8 Iowa 55 19
20 Arizona 4.7 Kansas 55 20
21 Oklahoma 4.5 New Jersey 55 21
22 California 4.4 Indiana 54 22
23 Texas 4.4 Wyoming 54 23
24 Virginia 4.1 Florida 54 24
25 Ohio 4.0 Maryland 54 25
26 West Virginia 4.0 Nebraska 54 26
27 New Jersey 3.9 Michigan 53 27
28 Kentucky 3.6 Pennsylvania 53 28
29 Montana 3.6 Arizona 53 29
30 Kansas 3.1 North Dakota 53 30
31 New York 3.1 Delaware 52 31
32 North Dakota 3.0 Illinois 51 32
33 Nebraska 2.9 Idaho 51 33
34 Wisconsin 2.9 California 49 34
35 Colorado 2.8 Nevada 49 35
36 Wyoming 2.7 Minnesota 49 36
37 Washington 2.5 Rhode Island 49 37
38 Connecticut 2.4 Montana 48 38
39 Rhode Island 2.4 Oregon 48 39
40 South Dakota 2.3 Hawaii 47 40
41 Utah 2.3 Colorado 47 41
42 Idaho 2.0 New York 46 42
43 Massachusetts 2.0 Washington 45 43
44 Oregon 2.0 Alaska 45 44
45 Iowa 1.9 Wisconsin 45 45
46 Hawaii 1.8 Connecticut 43 46
47 Maine 1.6 Maine 34 47
48 Minnesota 1.6 Vermont 34 48
49 Vermont 1.6 New Hampshire 33 49
50 New Hampshire 0.9 Massachusetts 33 50

 

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Call it the “I’m RUBBER, YOU’RE GLUE!” rebuttal

False equivalency as a rhetorical tactic of the religious right is nothing new, but it seems to be more prevalent lately. I read a story on my new pick for the most comically stupid “news” site on the Internet, LifeSiteNews.com, in which the anonymous author — supposedly a high-school kid in Canada but almost certainly one or more regular contributors to the site — complains that people calling him a bully for maligning homosexuality and same-sex marriage are actually the real bullies. Others have taken up the cry that calling bigoted homophobes “bigoted homophobes” (for lack of a clearer, more specific term) is itself bigotry and marks an unwillingness on the part of liberals to properly understand where they’re coming from.

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One of these days, the LDS will accidentally make sense

When people ask me questions like, “If you don’t believe in God, then why do you feel so threatened by God?” — and as inane as that question may sound, it’s intended to be serious, as it was when I recently tried to explain on Facebook to residents of Itawamba County, Mississippi the FFRF’s objection to Ten Commandments displays on government property — I point them toward infuriating bullshit like this.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes a bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.

The state’s predominant faith is not taking a position on another measure, sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, and Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, that would allow extracts from the plant that do not contain the psychoactive chemical THC.

“Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana,” LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement to The Tribune. “We have expressed opposition to Senator Madsen’s bill because of that concern. We are raising no objection to the other bill that addresses this issue.”

I don’t have a problem with god-belief itself, I have a real problem with religious institutions in this country, because with no meaningful exceptions, these backward-ass money-grubbing wish-peddlers don’t just want their followers bound to idiotic rules, they want everyone else in society bound by them too.

So what are the “unintended consequences” of THC (the medical benefits of which are absolutely undeniable). Oh my three-peckered god; you mean people might get *stoned*? Next thing you know, parents addled to the bejesus on weed will be telling their kids that the only true religion was founded less than 200 years ago by a philandering sex deviant and horse thief, that dinosaur bones come from other planets, and that dark-skinned people who convert to that religion will slowly turn white.

As Hemant Mehta points out, the LDS certainly was not concerned about real consequences to real people when it agitated furiously against Proposition 8 in California. But those nonexistent ones — oh boy!

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A Short Story Revisited

Once there was an old man in the twilight of his life. One night he had a dream. In his dream he saw a beautiful sand beach stretching along the shore of a great ocean. And on that beach was a set of footprints heading off into the distance. In a moment of insight the old man realized that the footprints represented his own journey through life. And so he followed the path they made, re-examining his experiences across the years.

At times the footprints were steady and true. At other times they appeared erratic and deeply embedded in the sand as if a heavy load had been carried. These in particular were the times of great duress during the old man’s life. But light or heavy, always the footprints were alone. And the old man wondered how this could be. After all, he always thought that he had “walked with the lord”. Why weren’t the lord’s footprints alongside his own? So the old man cried out “Lord! Did we not walk together? And why were you not with me when the times were most difficult?”

And the old man listened for an answer but heard nothing. He cried out again but still nothing. No matter how intently he strained to hear, nothing came. And it was then that the old man realized that there was no lord. Rather, it was the old man who had been carrying the burden of an ancient, now useless concept which had made the journey so difficult. It was a concept which had been placed on his shoulders as a child and reinforced by well meaning family and friends as the years went by.

And so the old man straightened himself, cast off his burden, and looking out across the vast ocean, felt at long last a true sense of freedom and relief. He smiled to himself knowing that, truly, tomorrow would be a new day.

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Same story, different headlines: a great example

Since sectarian religion by definition plays fast and loose with the truth (I’ve always wondered where the “fast” part of that saying comes from, but for now I’ll just roll with the cliche’), it should be no surprise that Christian news outlets are even more deep into the spin game than most media outlets, virtually none of which are free of at least some degree of obvious bias.

In 2009, a lawsuit was filed that aimed to block President Obama’s expansion of the availability of embryos for embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) via federal funding. (Ironically, the suit was brought not by pro-life opponents but by a pair of scientists concerned that the change in policy from the Bush Administration, which allowed ESCR but not its taxpayer funding, would ultimate backfire and hurt progress in ESCR.) The suit was tossed by a lower court, which determined that there was no basis for the suit since it was predicated on the erroneous idea that embryos in the federally funded projects were “harmed” in the process, which, if true, would violate a 1996 piece of legislation. (The quote marks are mine; feel free to argue with their inclusion if you want.) This decision was appealed, and on Friday, and appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision. Read the rest of this entry »

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Armstrong’s defenders: parallels with religious fervor

Unless you’ve been chained in a basement somewhere or in the throes of a drunken blackout, by now you’re aware that Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner and the most decorated cyclist in history, has been banned for life from the sport by the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) as a consequence of the case the agency has been building against him for months, if not years. Armstrong is charged not only with cheating via chemical enhancement, but also with trafficking, possessing, and administering banned substances. USADA also stripped him of all of his TdF titles, though the body lacks the ultimate authority to do so — that will fall to the International Cycling Federation (UCI). For any one of a thousand similar breakings of the story on Thursday afternoon, try this one in the NY Times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rick Perry doesn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change…

…and in a similarly shocking vein, certain Jamaicans are suspected of cultivating marijuana.

One nice thing about leaving my otherwise treasured home state of New Hampshire is that I don’t have to see first-hand the parade of Republican hopefuls who — thanks to New Hampshire having the nation’s first presidential primary election — begin flooding the place in pre-election years when there’s a Democrat or two-term GOP-er in the White House. This year, more than in any other, virtually all of them hold fifth-degree idiotbelts, from the no-hopers to Obama’s potential adversaries. It’s a sad day when someone like Mitt Romney has to be given credit for admitting that human-caused climate change is at least worth a look.

Rick Perry, the Texas governor known as much for his coif as his stances, told a crowd in Bedford that he’s a global warming skeptic. This in itself is no surprise. Perry represents a state with colossal fossil-fuel interests and has previously hit all of the podunk low points, from advocating “Intelligent Design” to opposing same-sex marriage to condemning abortions. As someone pandering to a citizenry like Texas’s, he has no choice but to support such causes. Read the rest of this entry »

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The public cocoon

The world’s full of ignorant and constitutively unintelligent people. As the emergence of the Internet has shown, this shambling and insufferable army of halfwits is just as eager to offer opinions as those who can actually read, think, and process information above what I’d refer to as a simian level if I were fucking drunk and feeling less than charitable. Among these hominid-pundits who technically qualify as human beings are Gribbit and Ikester7579 (Andrew Richardson and Isaac Bourne respectively). If I were indeed plastered and inclined to engage in facile ways to upset these assholes, I’d write this post in a manner that would force Google to index additional evidence of the haplessness of Andrew Richardson of Dayton, Ohio (Gribbit) and Isaac Bourne of Jacksonville (Ikester 7579) and link it to their real names.

That dumbasses want to be heard just as much as others do is not at all surprising; in fact, it’s to be expected, and at some level it’s even acceptable. Before the Web, fuckheads who in a sensible world keep their delusions and misapprehensions to themselves had few options for sharing them beyond the walls of their trailers and group homes. They could disseminate their useless ideas was by writing incoherent letters to newspapers, creating illegible newsletters, and meeting in the basement of Cletus’ Snack Shack in Twat Rot, Alabama to trade insights about how to best deal with Negroes, liberals, the godless and other enemies of the trout-faced and toothless. Beyond that? Not much; functional illiterates have a hard time infiltrating higher-visibility venues such as the mainstream media, colleges, and book publishers (all of which are controlled by vindictive, godless Jew-communists anyway). Read the rest of this entry »

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“It’s not your average creation video”

This is true only to the extent that the video in question is narrated by a young-earth whackjob who looks and sounds disturbingly like Richard Dawkins. Watching the video is thus much like watching George Carlin deliver a speech in an impassive monotone about how bright and charming most people are, or seeing Sarah Palin offer her latest insights about superstring theory. Other than that, though, it’s standard creationist bullshit — allege that something that real scientists have elucidated is actually a quandary for them, then solve a nonexistent problem (or more to the point, something that is a problem only for YECs) by throwing up a Biblical model in its place. Boilerplate drivel.

You may have noticed that the guy who operates this blog, Ikester, himself doesn’t possess an especially deep understanding of that which he purports to debunk: Read the rest of this entry »

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Analogy is going to demand an assault charge after this one

“Tell them Osama’s dead without proof of a body & they celebrate. Tell them Jesus died & rose without proof of a body & they speculate.”

This was the recent Facebook status of someone a friend of mine has been close to since childhood. That this is a logical Hindenburg is self-evident, but I’ll address it anyway.

My friend is conflicted about her relationships with most the people she’s known the longest, and understandably so. One hand, she grew up flitting at all times on the edges of being a ward of the state thanks to one of those chaotic rural Southern upbringings that seems too stereotypical to be real, a life extracted from a Harry Crews novel. She has few surviving close family members, and her chief allies in life besides her husband are cousins and childhood pals who together from an unofficial united front against progressive politics, exercise, sobriety, and godlessness. It’s more a little hard to take for my friend, who graduated second in her class in a prominent law school, is a dedicated runner, despises most Republicans, and has a Facebook feed that looks like the ass end of an all-you-can-eat tent revival sponsored jointly by NASCAR and Pabst Blue Ribbon. These people have been mainstays in a tumultuous life and she would never turn her back on them, but at times she either has to mentally mute their serial cognitive recklessness or check into the Crazy Inn herself. Read the rest of this entry »

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